You asked. We answered.

If you want specific details about the ins and outs of studying abroad, the Global Engagement Office (GEO) can provide them. Here are some of the most common questions from students and our answers to each.

Choose from the following study abroad topics that you have questions about. And remember, if the answers you need don’t show up in this FAQs list, geo [at] stedwards.edu (contact GEO). We’re here to help!

Deciding to Study Abroad

Q: Who can study abroad?
A:
Study abroad opportunities exist for undergraduate and graduate students. Students in any major can benefit from studying abroad. Undecided majors may discover new interests while studying abroad that may help them choose a major and career path.

Q: Why should I study abroad?
A:
In addition to the benefits of becoming familiar with another culture and improving your foreign language skills, study abroad can help you:

  • Gain increased independence
  • Develop new perspectives on your own culture and your role in the world
  • Acquire new and/or improved communication skills
  • Enrich your academic studies
  • Increase your confidence
  • Become more open-minded
  • Develop a new academic or career direction
  • Develop a heightened sense of global community
  • Make new friends around the world
  • ... and more!

Q: When can I study abroad?
A: You can study abroad as early as the summer after your freshman year. Transfer students must have established a GPA at St. Edward's before studying abroad. Remember, the earlier you get started, the more study abroad experiences you can have while you are a St. Edward’s student.

Q: Can I really study abroad more than once?
A: Definitely. Multiple study abroad experiences require planning to ensure that you can continue to make progress toward your degree, but many students have done this with the help of GEO.

Q: Where can I study abroad?
A: The possibilities are endless, although choosing a study abroad location requires much research and thought. There are long-term and short-term study abroad options. Students may study abroad for four or six weeks in the summer, a full semester or a whole academic year. Remember, the longer the program, the better your understanding of your host country's culture and language will be.

Q: What opportunities other than study abroad are available?
A: While study abroad offers students an excellent way to incorporate an international experience into their time at St. Edward's, students may also consider an internship abroad, completing a volunteer program abroad, working abroad after graduation or pursuing graduate studies abroad. More and more, study abroad programs are combining experiential learning with classroom learning, so there are many possibilities. GEO can help you research each of them to determine the right program for you.

Q: Do I have to speak a foreign language to go abroad?
A: Not necessarily. Many programs are offered in English, even in non-English speaking countries. However, studying abroad presents the opportunity to enhance your language skills or learn a new language, while taking courses toward your degree. GEO encourages all students to have a little knowledge of the host country language out of respect for the culture of the country.

Q: Can I use financial aid to study abroad? Are there scholarships available?
A: GEO, in coordination with Student Financial Services, can help you choose a program that allows you to maximize your financial aid package. As with many of the aspects of studying abroad, advance planning broadens your program options and ensures that you will be able to use as much of your financial aid as possible. Learn more about study abroad scholarships.

Q: What kinds of programs are available and how do they differ?
A: Students at St. Edward’s can select from a variety of program types and options:

Each type of experience offers students different benefits, so it is important to determine which type of program is best for you.

Q: How do I know which program to go on?
A: GEO will help you to determine the best program given your academic goals, your language skills, your financial aid package and your preferences. Your GEO Study Abroad Advisor will talk to you about each of these aspects of study abroad and help you choose a program in an individualized advising appointment

Applying to Study Abroad Programs

Q: How do I apply to study abroad?
A: Review our 4-step process for studying abroad at St. Edward’s. The very first step is to create an online profile through our study abroad portal. You can search and apply to study abroad programs, contact your Study Abroad Advisor, and complete your application through the portal.

Q: Can I apply to more than one study abroad program at a time?
A: Yes, but notify your Study Abroad Advisor if you plan to do this. There may be certain restrictions and limitations.

Q: How will I know whether or not I was accepted to a study abroad program?
A: You will receive your application decision via email after the study abroad deadline for your program has passed.

Q: What does it mean if I was “waitlisted” for a study abroad program, and what should I do in the meantime?
A: It means the program you are applying to has reached full capacity. It is possible that someone will withdraw from the program after the deadline, in which case you may be eligible to take a vacated spot.

NOTE: In order to be included on the waitlist, you must complete all application requirements before the deadline. This is not a guarantee that you will be able to participate on a study abroad program.

Q: What happens after I am accepted?
A: Once you have been accepted to a program, you will receive an email from GEO regarding your acceptance with instructions on how to complete your application.

NOTE: Once you have been accepted to a program, there are still application requirements you must complete. Failure to complete these requirements will mean your application is incomplete.

Academics of Study Abroad Programs

Q: Are there language requirements for studying abroad?
A: Language requirements differ from program to program. If developing language skills is a priority to you or, conversely, if you prefer to participate in a study abroad program that is taught in English, let your Study Abroad Advisor know this preference when you meet.

Q: Is there a GPA requirement to study abroad?
A: Yes. You must have a GPA of 2.75 or higher. Students with a GPA lower than a 2.75 must talk to their Study Abroad Advisor to request a GPA Petition to allow them to study abroad.

Q: What is the GPA Petition process?
A: You must make an appointment to meet with your Study Abroad Advisor to get the GPA Petition Form. Complete the form, write a short essay (~500 words) detailing how you will manage your studies while abroad, and get a letter of recommendation from your academic advisor. The GPA Petition must be approved by the Director of GEO.

Q: I am a transfer student, can I study abroad?
A: Yes you can, but not during your first semester at St. Edward’s. You must have an established GPA of 2.75 or higher at St. Edward’s to be eligible to participate in study abroad programs.

Q: I am an international student. Can I study abroad?
A: Yes. Inform your International Student Advisor of your plans. In addition, you are responsible for acquiring any visa or travel documentation you may need to participate in a study abroad program. Contact iss [at] stedwards.edu with any questions or concerns.

Costs of Study Abroad Programs

Q: Does financial aid apply to the cost? 
A: Yes, but there are stipulations. Federal financial aid (any funds from your FAFSA) can be applied toward any of the three types of study abroad programs: Faculty-Led, Exchange and Provider. St. Edward’s University financial aid (scholarships) can ONLY be applied to Faculty-Led and Exchange programs. Contact your financial aid advisor with any questions.

Q: How much spending money should I take?
A: We highly recommend creating a budget based on your personal spending habits and the cost of living where you plan to study abroad. Your Study Abroad Advisor can help you find resources to create a realistic budget for while you are abroad.

Traveling During Study Abroad Programs

Q: Can I arrive early to my program or stay after it has ended?
A: The answer to this is almost always yes, with the exception of programs that include group airfare. If group airfare is included in your program, deviations ARE NOT allowed. You must travel into and out of the country with the group.

Q: Am I allowed to travel elsewhere during free weekends or campus holidays?
A: If you are on an Exchange program, you are free to travel on your weekends and campus holidays.  If you are on a Provider program or a Faculty-Led program, you are generally allowed to travel only when other weekend activities/excursions are not scheduled.

Withdrawing from Study Abroad Programs

Q: What should I do if I want to withdraw from a study abroad program?
A: First, review the cancellation policy that is part of your study abroad application for both your program and GEO, and understand there are financial penalties for withdrawing. Then, let your Study Abroad Advisor know.  When looking at the policy of cancellations and refunds, we use the first recorded communication about your intent to withdraw as the date from which penalties are assessed. So, when you are certain you no longer want to participate in a program, the sooner you email your advisor, the better.

Q: What are the withdrawal fees if I withdraw after the deadline?
A: The cost is dependent on how close your withdrawal is to the start of the study abroad program. Please review the cancellation policy that is part of your study abroad application for both your program and GEO.

In Case of Emergencies While Studying Abroad

Q: Who do I contact for help in an emergency while I'm abroad?

If you are traveling with faculty or staff:

Faculty or staff on site at your study abroad program are the fastest and most helpful resource in an emergency. Contact them first for immediate assistance.

If your emergency requires that any St. Edward’s University office be involved, contact the University Police Department (below), and they can connect you to the appropriate contact (Health & Counseling Center, Dean of Students Office, Global Engagement Office, etc.).

If you are not traveling with faculty or staff and it is not a medical emergency, contact the following:

During Business Hours:
Global Engagement Office (GEO)
Moody Hall 102
[+001] 512-448-1051
geo [at] stedwards.edu

NOTE: GEO staff does not regularly check email or voicemail over weekends and holidays. Time zones might also make it hard to receive a timely response.

After Hours 24/7:
University Police Department (UPD)
[+001] 512-448-8444
Holy Cross Hall, G13
campus.safety [at] stedwards.edu